Harold J. Shamberger

Obituary of Harold J. Shamberger

Harold Joseph Shamberger ~
July 16, 1921 – October 22, 2020

Harold J. (Hal) Shamberger, loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather of Morgantown, WV passed away after a short illness at Ruby Memorial Hospital on October 22, 2020.

     He was born in Garfield, NJ, the son of the late Rudolph and Christina Shamberger.

     He is survived by Helen, his wife of 73 years. They were married in the home of her parents, Lewis and Elizabeth Loar in Laurel Point. They have four children:  Diane Puckett (Arnold) of Alabama, David (Jill) of Maryland; Thomas (Martha) of Morgantown, and Anne Marshall of Florida.  Grandchildren are:  Jennifer Puckett, Suzanne High (Jeff), Steven (Sarah May), Holly Puckett, Logan Shamberger, Caroline Shamberger, and Carlie Marshall.  Great grandchildren are Christopher and Nicolas High, Jack Shamberger, and Dylan May.  A sister, Grace Huber of Las Vegas, Nevada, preceded him in death.

          Following his graduation from Garfield High School in 1939, Mr. Shamberger enlisted in the United States Navy as an apprentice seaman and served until 1946, when he was released from active duty as a Lieutenant (junior grade).  During his naval service he served aboard the USS McCALLA (DD253) a WWI destroyer, one of the 50 four-piper destroyers transferred to the British Navy in 1940.  Next, he served for two and a half years on board the USS FLICKER (AM70), a minesweeper on the East Coast of the US, Bermuda, and Brazil; the USS WHITTER (DE636) a destroyer escort in the Pacific, and a transport, the USS HERALD OF THE MORNING (AP173) in the Pacific where he became a shipmate of David Jacobs, former longtime Secretary of the WVU Alumni Association.  Prior to his service in the Pacific he was an instructor at the yeoman school of the Submarine Chaser Training Center in Miami, FL where he was promoted to Chief Yeoman.  Six months later he was commissioned an Ensign in the regular navy upon the recommendation of the commanding officer of the USS FLICKER.

          As a commissioned officer, he served in the Pacific as a boat officer, as assistant to the executive officer, a division officer and ship’s writer on the HERALD OF THE MORNING.  He was qualified watch officer on a vessel underway.  He was awarded battle stars for participation in the amphibious landings at Leyte Gulf and Lingayen Gulf in the Philippine Islands, at Palau, Ulithi and Iwo Jima. 

          Following his release from active duty, his former shipmate Dave Jacobs encouraged him to attend WVU, where he was awarded a BA in Political Science in 1948.  He attended Wayne State University on a Volker Fellowship, earning a master’s degree in Public Administration in 1950.  He returned to West Virginia University as a research assistant in the newly created Bureau for Government Research in the Department of Political Science.  During the next six years he published several reports on West Virginia state and local government including The Tax Limitation amendment in West Virginia, County Government and Administration in West Virginia, Intergovernmental Relations in West Virginia as well as articles in the national publications The National Municipal Review and County Officer Magazine.  He taught classes in American State and Local Government and American Municipal Government.  During 1954-55 he was the Executive Director of the West Virginia League of Municipalities and editor-publisher of the West Virginia Municipality magazine.  In 1954 he wrote the charter for the city of Princeton, West Virginia and worked as an advisor to municipalities throughout the State.

          From 1955-60 he was a staff member of the New Jersey Manufacturers Association in Trenton serving as secretary to the Committee on Taxation.  He maintained active liaison with NJ Legislature members and testified before the Legislative Committee on Taxation, the NJ Air Pollution Control Commission and the US Select Committee on Small Business.  He was vice president of the New Jersey Industrial Development Association and a member of Local advisory committees in Trenton on landfill garbage disposal and public transportation.

          In 1960, President Elvis Stahr, Jr. appointed him to the newly established position of Assistant to the President of WVU, which he held until 1981.  He served as assistant to Stahr, to Acting President Clyde L Colson, and to Presidents Paul Miller, James Harlow, Gene Budig and Harry Heflin.  In 1977, the West Virginia Board of Regents appointed him Interim President of West Virginia University following the retirement of James Harlow, prior to the arrival of Gene Budig.  From 1964 to 1967 in addition to his regular duties, he served also as Acting Director of University Relations and was the Executive Officer of the University under Gene Budig.  He was a tenured assistant professor of political science and a member of the Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity and Mountain, the ranking men’s honorary.  In 1982 he was appointed Associate Director of WVU Hospital and that same year departed for Fayetteville, Arkansas, to become the Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration of the University of Arkansas.

          In Morgantown, Mr. Shamberger was active in several community and service activities.  He has served as Chairman of the Committee on Finance, a member of the Administrative Board and the Board of Trustees of the Wesley United Methodist Church.  He was past president of the Morgantown Kiwanis Club, past president of the Monongalia Opportunity Council, a member and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Automobile Club of Northern West Virginia and President of the West Virginia State Association of the American Automobile Association.  He was a past president of the United Way of Monongalia County, a member of its Board of Directors from 1962 to 1980, Chairman of the Committee on Membership and Allocations, and General Campaign Chairman in 1980.

He is a member of the Pines Country Club where he enjoyed playing golf following his retirement.   More recently he resided, with Helen, “tolerably well”, at the Village at Heritage Point.  A private graveside service was held at East Oak Grove Cemetery with Dr. Randall Flanagan, Pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church presiding and military honors.

A special thank you to the staff at the Suites and the Village of Heritage Point.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to:

WV History Center – PO Box 6069 Morgantown WV 26506 – memo line WVU Collection

Wesley United Methodist Church – 503 N High Street Morgantown, WV  26501 – or the charity of your choice